Sunday, May 11, 2014

Packing the books away

Well, the day has arrived to start packing up the books.  This is always a bit traumatic.  Even though rationally I know I can't read (much) more than I already do, I hate the idea that the vast majority of my books will be crated up and inaccessible for a few months.  (I did pull together one book of the most critical books on the TBR pile to see if I can get through any of those, and more critically, leave them behind in Vancouver.)  Some books just scream out, you should read me, you were intrigued by me once, what happened? 

At the same time, it is interesting as I go through some of the boxes and find books that had been misplaced and some presumed lost.*  One of the more interesting discoveries was an entire box of books that I have been trying to sell either on-line or at local used book stores.  While I think it is marginally easier to sell used books in Toronto (though still much harder than it would have been even 10 years ago), I think in the end, I'll have to donate them to the library.  I have no intention of carting around books with no meaningful resale value.  I will admit to being a bit flummoxed by David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.  I'm not that likely to read it again, but I thought it was an interesting book, and it's not impossible that I will tackle it again now that I have seen the movie.  What makes it even more ridiculous, is that I may have two copies, but I won't know for certain until I unpack later in the summer.

While I wouldn't say that I have really made that many hard decisions (and am hanging onto far too many books), I am getting rid of the Molly Keane book discussed here, as well as Bissondath's Innocence of Age, which started well, but ended up being a disappointment to me (it turns out this was my very first Canadian challenge review).  Despite really loving the cover, I'm going to have to part with it.

For some of the marginal books, I am checking the holdings of the Toronto Public Library.  I find it so odd that many novels are reference holdings there.  It really seems to defeat the purpose.  That is one main reason I ended up reading so much Keane and Comyns here, since I couldn't check them out in Toronto. Of course, the reality is that a book that is just on a virtual library holding shelf is a book that I probably won't get to in this lifetime.  But that's the case for a lot of the books that don't make it out of the boxes.

I had really thought that I could live with four main bookshelves (two for fiction and two for urban studies/sociology/transportation), but it just isn't enough.  It's too hard to leave so many classics stashed away where I really can't find them.  So like a man finally admitting he needs to buy a bigger pair of pants, I will get another bookcase (or two) once we are settled in Toronto.  At least, this should be the last major move, and there is a tiny chance this will be the last move of all.

I've been blocked on packing (not so much mentally but because the landlord had left a lot of junk on our garage space).  Now that that has been cleared away, I threw down a tarp and started packing in earnest.  We got through 20 boxes on Sat.  I am kind of tied up today with work and a concert today, but I think the vast majority of books will be packed by next weekend. It will be another week to pack up the CDs and DVDs (setting aside at least a few more to sell off), but then I'll be largely done with the office.

Well, except that the files are a bit of a different story.  Vast quantities have been scanned, but I am really unwilling to recycle this paper until I have verified that the scanned version is acceptable, so that will take a bit longer.  Still, I have disposed of roughly 50% of the files I brought to Vancouver, which I consider a major accomplishment.  The hardest will be going through all the detritus that accumulates at the bottom of desk drawers and probably should just be pitched out.  I'll try to be stronger about parting with it in this move.

Minor update -- work indeed prevented me from getting a lot of boxing done on Sunday, though we did pack up about half of the children's books.  While I exercised a lot of executive decision-making, hanging onto books that I felt needed to be kept, it was interesting to see which books my daughter did and didn't want.  She definitely is skewing towards easier books, though she can read proto-chapter books, whereas my son has definitely launched himself well into YA territory, only really interested in books with a quest of some sort.

* There is one CD box set that has not turned up since I moved to Vancouver, and I really hope it turns up as I start going through a few of these random boxes that haven't been fully unpacked from the last move...

Edit (5/16/2015 -- incredibly, this box set by David Oistrakh is one where two different internet sellers simply failed to come through, and I had forgotten that until going through old emails, so it wasn't missing at all.  I finally bought the set (successfully) last November, though I haven't listened to the whole thing yet.  I never thought this day would come, but I basically am shaking free of the need to horde music (and DVDs) that I never listen to (or watch).  I haven't cut the purchases to zero (yet), but I am going 3 or 4 weeks without shopping at Amazon, which is a major improvement from before.

As it turns out we are making one more move, but only 3 blocks away, so it doesn't feel quite so overwhelming as these cross-country moves, but I still find myself packing things up that I know I won't look at or use anytime soon, and I tell myself I ought to do the sorting now, but I know I won't.  I'm kind of astounded that I packed up 20 boxes in one day in Vancouver, but maybe I had the kids helping out.  That's not a bad idea for today...

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